A woman describing herself as a former tenant of Paul Bertelson, the landlord at 2818 Colfax Ave. N., site of a fatal fire that claimed the lives of five small children, emailed me and said as follows...
Slummy Is How You live, And 2818 Colfax Ave N. Upper was Not Slummy When I lived there till end of Oct 2012, it looked just like this. So can you please quit calling Pauls Properties "Slums" You embarras the people who take pride in having their own place(like ME) just because its owned by someone you don't like. I looked at 3 of his houses before I chose this one and I liked it alot..the house was so nice to be in such a bad area.
So I enjoyed my time there. here are some pics...all showing the heaters with the knobs, and they all were working. Feel free to use a few of these pics if you want. But Please let up the reigns on my former landlord, he was a good guy I swear, and I know shady people who do shady things and truly I am a good judge. Here is proof that his places are livable, not slums, and CLEAN, bug and Pest Free, beautiful, (to me) I don't know your standards but to me I loved it so its sad what happened.
The heaters all worked and I used to wish I still lived there. No problems except the area, which made me get a gun as you can see in the pics. lol.
(Paragraph break added by JNS blog, you're welcome)
Here are the other photos which were forwarded. Apparently not all the photos are of the upstairs unit but there is also one of the "downstairs bedroom facing the alley." (ADDENDUM, FEBRUARY 21, JNS blog confirms that despite the use of the phrase "Dn Stairs" in original email, all the photos are, in fact, of the second and third story apartment)
The source of these photos says she has more but didn't want those published since these include her children. My source added, however, "Just hate to hear all the stories making it sound like his place was all run down...I swear to be such an old house it looked pretty nice, Im talking solid...new tub, oven, fridge, floors nice, walls good, stairs new carpet. even the lighting fixtures looked good. So yes, good to get the truth out. But I dont know how the few tenants after me treated the place, but at the end of 2012 everything was good, even better then when I moved in(got a fridge, ceiling tiles all new, painted outside and patios-all while I lived there for my 6 months)."
JNS blog will, however, continue to use the word "slumlord" to describe Paul Bertelson and his landlord practices. The shame of it is Bertelson has always been known to be a more benevolent slumlord than, for example, Mahmoud Khan. (Who evicted the Lewis family from another residence)
No matter how well maintained properties themselves may be another "slumlord" practice is the concentration of people in poverty and people with criminal records into a limited geographic area, a practice which creates "slums." And Paul Bertelson undoubtedly does that.
The cause of the fire continues to be unknown but Troy Lewis is on the record saying baseboard heaters had issues as early as October of 2013 and for that reason he resorted to using a space heater. But Troy Lewis also says he's a Vietnam veteran and JNS blog continues to wait for proof of THAT.
With all the mainstream media caught up in a Pollyanna narrative about this tragedy, (complete with a tinkling piano layered beneath the telling of the tale!) there will be at least one media entity which asks tough, uncomfortable questions and digs for facts. Nothing will bring back those five dead children but only digging for the truth has the slightest possibility of preventing future tragedies or meting out justice.